Jerusalem was still partially paralysed Monday following a rare snowstorm last week, with schools in the city shut down, thousands left without power and only some public transportation working.
The storm started Wednesday and battered the region intermittently for four days, dumping up to two feet of snow on Jerusalem, which often goes entire winters without snow, and forcing some 40,000 Gazans to flee their flooded homes.
On Monday, many of Jerusalem’s roads had not been cleared of snow, ice and downed trees. Some 8,000 homes in Israel more than half of them in Jerusalem itself were still without electricity, said Israel’s Electric Corp.
In the Gaza Strip, which is located on the Mediterranean coast, where snow had fallen for the first time in some 20 years, most of the damage was caused by flooding.
The Palestinian territory’s schools and government offices were starting to open on Monday and Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said his Hamas government would compensate Gazans for damages to their homes.
The storm has come at a difficult time for Gaza. Recurring power outages have led to the suspension of many health care programs and services, including waste water treatment. Overwhelmed sewage facilities have been forced to dump untreated waste into the Mediterranean, and long lines are often formed outside bakeries while people wait to buy bread.
Despite its blockade of the Palestinian territory, run by the militant Hamas group, Israel over the weekend sent diesel fuel for heating and four water pumps as a humanitarian gesture.
Gaza received its first shipment of Israeli industrial fuel in 45 days on Sunday, bringing much-needed relief to the coastal territory after the storm. The shipment was paid for by Qatar, an oil rich Gulf country that has aided Hamas in the past. Officials said Gazans would now have roughly 12 hours of electricity a day, up from the recent level of six hours.